Tuesday, November 18, 2008


How does the kingdom expand? How does a church grow? How do you conduct a staff meeting? How do you share your faith? How do you do youth ministry? The questions are straightforward. The answers not so much. As near as I can tell, the answer is: "It depends."

I was recently at a conference where I and two other pastors of "multi-site" churches told our stories. We were each chosen because we represented slightly different approaches to being one church in many locations. Backstage, prior to one of the sessions, someone commented on how cool it was that three different churches, with three different styles, could come together in one conference. I jokingly quipped, "But aren't we really here to find out which approach is right?" There was nervous laughter because we all knew that much of sordid church history has been in the quest "to find the one right way."

It's about time we realize that there is not "a right way," there are just "right ways." In order to reach people that no one is reaching you may have to do things that no one is doing. In order to do things that no one else is doing, you can’t do what everyone else is doing. God is not formulaic in his approach. One of the reasons we have so many differences in the body of Christ is that God's ways (plural, remember?) are personal and profound, mysterious and multi-faceted. Just when we think we have Him figured out, the pillar of fire and cloud moves. The sooner we get our heads around ways instead of way, the more enjoyment we will find in the way that God is at work in our ministry, and others'.

Just because God is at work in a certain way in someone's story doesn't mean He wants to work that way in yours. Both Joseph and Moses had very similar experiences, with very different conclusions. They both were raised in Egyptian royal households. Both rose to positions of prominence, and had potential for significant power. In Joseph's case, the power was part of the plan that God had for him. In Moses' case, he needed to shun that power to follow God's script. It's a good thing they followed what God had in mind for them, and didn't copy what they had read in a Christian magazine.

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